Citigroup Inc told about five former top executives that they will not be paid tens of millions of dollars in promised severance payouts, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.

The executives affected include Kevin Kessinger, who was formerly in charge of operations and technology at Citigroup and Michael Klein, former co-head of the company's investment bank, the sources told the paper.

The New York company has already paid more than half of the about $100 million it promised to the former executives, the paper said.

Citigroup officials recently decided to not proceed with the remaining payments, to avoid a possible public backlash over the money, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the situation.

Citigroup spokesman Jon Diat declined to comment to the paper.

U.S. government officials did not demand that Citigroup end its payouts, a person familiar with the discussions told the paper.

A Citigroup spokesman in Hong Kong could not be immediately reached for comment by Reuters.

(Reporting by Ajay Kamalakaran in Bangalore; Editing by Dhara Ranasinghe)